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Support better than headliner

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A diff post got me thinking about support acts who blew headliners off the stage (at gigs, not festivals).

For me... an unknown Supergrass who crackled with energy, supporting a slightly ragged Shed Seven at the After Dark in Reading (circa late 1994?).

Also, An Emotional Fish (full of life), supporting Simple Minds (slick, but sterile) at Wembley Arena (perhaps around 1990 or 1991).

What are your experiences?

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Cov Theatre 1978

Headliner: Black Sabbath (10th anniversary tour)

Support: Van Halen (first UK gigs)

Never seen anything like it before or since.

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Babymetal supporting Chili Peppers at London O2 about three years ago.  Blew them away for energy and musicianship.  

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Sweet little machine at Feeder last year. They were brilliant but more importantly their sound was superb whereas Feeder’s sound was awful - kick drum overload x100

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The Eagles blew Neil Young off the stage when I saw them back in the early '70's in Glasgow. Young kept stopping songs to complain about the monitor sound and he looked like he was off his face. His set was cut short thank F***.

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Homeless busker outside Glasgow Central Station. Far more emotionally engaging and keen to perform than Van Morrison was when I went to see him an hour later.

In 2008 or so, I saw Torche open for Pelican. Torche were great, Pelican less so.

Taste of Chaos 2009. To my ears, Every Time I Die blew away Killswitch Engage and In Flames. Technically though it was a ‘triple headliner’ tour but whatever.

In 2005 I saw Mastodon twice. However both times I preferred the support, High on Fire and Dozer. It happened again a few years ago when Red Fang supported them. 

I also saw Motörhead twice and both times preferred the support being Danko Jones and Clutch. 

 

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12 minutes ago, Bassman Sam said:

The Eagles blew Neil Young off the stage when I saw them back in the early '70's in Glasgow. Young kept stopping songs to complain about the monitor sound and he looked like he was off his face. His set was cut short thank F***.

Things haven't improved since , Neil Young was the Sunday Headliner for the Isle of Wight festival a few years back , reports were everybody starting leaving early and the fireworks that normally close the festival at 11 pm went off at 10:30 ..

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Larry Coryell at The Crystal Palace Bowl in ‘76. Clapton was the headline. 
T’Pau supporting Nik Kershaw at The Town & Country, ‘87.

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Almost everyone on the bill at the first UK Ozzfest as better than Ozzy and Black Sabbath.

But Pantera's performance was up into legendary status.

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Pantera opening for Megadeth in ‘92 springs to mind.

As for Young Neil, guess he’s always been a bit marmite. Never seen him less than amazing across the last 30 years or so.

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Went to see Airbourne at The Astoria in 2007 and although they were great the support, The Stone Gods (Dan Hawkins from The Darkness’s band) imo were better. 

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Primus, supporting Rush, Roll the Bones tour at Sheffield. 
Dan Reed Network supporting the Stones at Maine Road. 

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A band called Black Elvis 2000 supported Zig Zig Sputnik when I saw them at Coventry Poly, one of the early dates of their first tour (so OK we are not setting the bar very high to be honest!) they were brilliant, the crowd were shouting for more when they finished, I believe they were subsequently thrown off the tour a couple of days later for upstaging the main band!

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I saw UB40 at "UB40 plays the Blues" at Birmingham City's football stadium. On the bill were The Pogues who, though I had heard of, hadn't really taken serious notice of.

They were brilliant - crowd was going mental with fans from all sorts of musical genre dancing and cheering. Opened my eyes (or should that be "ears").

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12 minutes ago, TheGreek said:

I saw UB40 at "UB40 plays the Blues" at Birmingham City's football stadium. On the bill were The Pogues who, though I had heard of, hadn't really taken serious notice of.

They were brilliant - crowd was going mental with fans from all sorts of musical genre dancing and cheering. Opened my eyes (or should that be "ears").

I was at that gig! I was going out with UB40's fan club manager at the time, we had free tickets and back stage passes, the Pogues were brilliant but got very drunk after they played, started abusing UB40 and were thrown out by the bouncers!

If I remember correctly wasn't Robert Palmer the opening act?

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He was definitely on the bill but wasn't the opening act Ruby Turner???

One of my friends was in jail with one of the Campbell brothers many years ago so we often get back stage/ free entry.

Rumour has it that there was a Tesco carrier bag full of weed lying about backstage for people to help themselves to. It had all gone by the time we got backstage at the end of the night.

Must say that Astro's mother in law is a lovely lady...

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Saw Stone Broken open for Cheap Trick at the Forum, Kentish Town a couple of years back, They were very down to earth, sound was awesome and I really enjoyed their set, When cheap trick came on, I got the feeling the sound man just maxxed the sliders and went for a curry, cos the sound was fooking awful, waaaay too loud, and I saw more punters outside the venue having a beer than inside, ok I'm not really a Cheap Trick fan and it was the 1st time I had seen them, but it wasn't a good initiation!!

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I took my younger sister to see UB40 at the NEC in 1986. Supporting were a reggae band called Paul Blake and the Bloodfire Possee who absolutely blew the headliners away. I’ve never seen a support act engage a crowd like that before or since. 
 

I saw Simple Minds at MK Bowl, also in 1986 with various other bands. Simple Minds were slick but soulless, The Waterboys were terrific, The Cult were half arsed and chaotic, but the winners of the day, somewhat surprisingly, were The Bangles, who were brash, exciting, clearly loving being on a big gig and brilliantly thrilling in a ramshackle, garage band kind of way. Really good. 
 

But the ultimate giant slayers for me, again at MK Bowl, this time in 1993 were Little Angels, opening for Bon Jovi. My girlfriend at the time was a big BJ fan (no, not in that way, sadly...) and I accompanied her somewhat unwillingly. I was delighted however to see that the Manics were opening (I’m a big fan) so I went down the front. They were great, but I stuck around in front of the stage for Little Angels who were incredible and made Bon Jovi look bored and jaded. They should’ve been massive! 

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Big Country supporting David Bowie on Glass Spider tour at Sunderland 87

Was never a big fan of them until i saw them. Amazing energetic band that stole the day for me. Huge surprise.

Dave

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1 hour ago, wateroftyne said:

Radiohead supporting Kingmaker at Sunderland Poly in 1992. Less than a hundred in. I'd say.

I bought an early Squier Strat from Loz out of Kingmaker, nice chap. They were a Hull based band. Wish I still had the Strat.

Seen a few great support acts over the years. The Stones always seemed to pick acts who gave them a good run for the money - I remember seeing The Meters open for them at Earls Court in 76 ( I think...) and then Black Uhuru (featuring Sly and Robbie) at Wembley in the early 80’s.

Another close one was at Leeds Uni in 76/77 where I saw Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers open for Nils Lofgren. It was their first UK dates and they were amazing, making it very hard for Nils to follow.

The support act that I remember most was when seeing Graham Parker and the Rumour play at Bradford St George’s Hall in 1977. I loved this band dearly, but they were blown away by opening act Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. Amazing 10 piece band in suits and fedoras, cool as f*ck and with a load of great tunes from Bruce Springsteen and Steve Van Zandt. They went down so well that they headlined their own gig at The Rainbow in London and got an OGWTest special too. Over 40 years later probably still my favourite band , seen them many times over the years and always deliver.

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Saw a young unsigned band called Casino (I think) support the Stereophonics at the guild hall in preston. Honestly the blew them off the stage and out of town.

Dont think they ever did anything, but gees Stereophonics musn't have been so pleased! They sounded so boring in comparison (and I like them).

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New Amen Corner, each time I’ve seen them, were much better than the acts they supported/backed.  OK, they were supporting the likes of the Foundations and the Fortunes, etc, bands from way back, but who were still ‘headlining'

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Okay this had to be the most incredible show I ever saw. It was Capt. Beefheart's last tour it was for Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller) @ the Beacon Theater NYC and his opening act was James Blood Ulmer. I don't know who JBU's drummer was but I never seen anything like it. AND the guy sitting next to me was recording Beefheart (wasn't interested in JBU) I held his mics while he changed batteries, he took my address & sent me a cassette. (no return address-very paranoid dude. But I have Beefheart's last tour)

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Rival Sons supporting Black Sabbath on The End tour at the O2 3 years ago.  I'd seen BS a couple of years earlier at Hyde PArk and they were totally on the money but not this time, turning in a pretty pedestrian performance.  Rival Sons by contrast were full of energy and enthusiasm - everything you could want from a rock band.

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